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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 9; Overtures
Ludwig van Beethoven, Karl Böhm, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 9; Overtures
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #2

This is one of the greatest recordings of the famous Ninth Symphony. It has long been overshadowed by Karajan's three recordings for the same label, as well as Bernstein's version with the same orchestra. But put them all ...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
This is one of the greatest recordings of the famous Ninth Symphony. It has long been overshadowed by Karajan's three recordings for the same label, as well as Bernstein's version with the same orchestra. But put them all on your CD player and compare, and this is the one you'll be coming back to. Böhm was the least glamorous of conductors, but he approaches the Ninth with messianic zeal and a fanatical gleam in his eye. The opening movement is a cataclysm, the sublime slow movement never loses its contemplative flow, and everyone involved simply sings and plays the pants off of the finale. If the final minute or two doesn't pull you right out of your seat, nothing will. Grab it while you can at this "twofer" price. It's a steal. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Great Ninth, but...
A. Michaelson | Bay Area, CA | 07/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I really adore Bohm as a great conductor of Mozart, but I was somewhat suspect of his Beethoven. In my opinion, Beethoven works best at fast tempos, and Bohm is notorious for his rather moderate to slow tempos. I picked up this CD from amazon just a few months ago based on the reviews that it had gotten. Other Bohm/Beethoven CDs that I owned were somewhat of a debacle, with some outrageously slow tempos during moments that should have been played quickly. Still, I bought this 2-CD set, and when it arrived I put on the ninth first. I was rather surprised at the marvelous job Bohm did with this symphony. His moderate tempo and expressive performance is somewhat reminiscent of Furtwangler's great performance. It turned out that it was one of the better ninths in my collection(I still prefer Karajan's recording from his first Beethoven cycle). Next I put on the Third and the overtures, and found that these were even better. Bohm brings out many of the great romantic aspects of this revolutionary and heroic symphony. He also does a great job with the overtures. However, there are some flaws which prevent me from giving this CD 5 stars. First of all, I've heard better singers in the final movement of the Ninth. Second, despite the fact that the more moderate tempos work very well, I still believe the faster tempos work the best, and though this performance is thoroughly enjoyable, I must still choose Karajan's versions as my personal references for beethoven's ninth and third. Lastly, the sound quality isn't too great. I've heard older recordings than this one with clearer and louder sound. Deutsche Grammophon could have done a better job with remastering these discs to improve the sound quality. Overall though, the performances are solid and very enjoyable. This 2-cd set should be a welcome addition to anybody's classical collection."
Two, two, two great performances in one!
Ed Brickell | 07/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I don't know why everyone is fussing about this performance of the Third. It's the equal of most I've heard, and a darn sight better than many. The Ninth, however, seems to be the performance everyone is buying this 2-CD set for, and there is no doubt it's a special one. The singing does seem a bit too forwardly balanced in the finale, but that's just nitpicking. It is a highly emotional reading without any artificial "whipping up" of sentiment. This music was food, drink, and air to Bohm, and it's in the orchestra's very blood. And my god, what an orchestra! While listening to Gardiner and his hell-bent-for-leather "authentic" kinsmen is like a shove into a bracingly cold pool, Bohm is like taking a measured stroll through a spectacular cathedral. Both approaches are enjoyable to me, and having heard both, I wouldn't want one without the other. Beethoven's music is too big to insist on any one "right" way to perform it.Buy this CD for not just one, but TWO outstanding performances --and at budget price."
Soon to be a lost treasure
J. Buxton | 01/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While some criticism of Bohm's Beethoven Symphonies relate to his tempi being too slow, I nevertheless discovered that one of my biggest considerations in choosing a Beethoven conductor, (I do own others like Reiner, Hogwood, Toscanini), turned out to be over the timpani, not the tempo. I don't know about your ears, but I can't stand listening to Beethoven Symphonies by the supposed great conductors with out-of-tune musicians and timpani that sound like dead pots! Funny thing about this underrated conductor, Karl Bohm, his musicans are always in-tune and the timpani always resonate as an integral and balanced part of the orchestra and the score. Also important to me in choosing a conductor, Bohm consistently manages to bring a presence and sense of drama to these works that the so-called great conductors often fail to achieve. I'm not an expert, but maybe, that's the best part of his operatic skill coming through. P.S. Deutsche Gramophon no longer lists these Bohm recordings of the Beethoven cycle, as available."